Isaiah 51:18
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she has brought forth; neither is there any that takes her by the hand of all the sons that she has brought up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Isaiah 51:18-20. There is none to guide her, &c. — When thou wast drunk with this cup, and couldest not direct or support thy steps, neither thy princes, nor prophets, nor priests, were able or willing to lead or uphold thee. These two things are come upon thee — Those here following, which, although they be expressed in four words, yet may be fitly reduced to two things, namely, desolation by famine, and destruction by the sword. Who shall be sorry for thee — Who is there left to take pity on thee, since thy children are all in as miserable a condition as thyself? See Isaiah 51:18; Isaiah 51:20. By whom shall I comfort thee — What human means of comfort is there left for thee?

Thy sons have fainted — They are so far from being able to comfort thee, as was said Isaiah 51:18, that they themselves faint away for want of comfort, and through famine. They lie at the head of all the streets — Dead by famine, or the sword of the enemy; as a wild bull in a net — Those of them who are not slain are struggling for life. They are full of the fury of the Lord — “The bold image of the cup of God’s wrath,” says Bishop Lowth, “often employed by the sacred writers, is nowhere handled with greater force and sublimity than in this passage. Jerusalem is represented in person, as staggering under the effects of it, destitute of that assistance which she might expect from her children, not one of them being able to support or lead her. They, abject and amazed, lie at the head of every street, overwhelmed with the greatness of their distress; like the oryx entangled in a net, in vain struggling to rend it and extricate himself. This is poetry of the first order, sublimity of the highest proof.”51:17-23 God calls upon his people to mind the things that belong to their everlasting peace. Jerusalem had provoked God, and was made to taste the bitter fruits. Those who should have been her comforters, were their own tormentors. They have no patience by which to keep possesion of their own souls, nor any confidence in God's promise, by which to keep possession of its comfort. Thou art drunken, not as formerly, with the intoxicating cup of Babylon's idolatries, but with the cup of affliction. Know, then, the cause of God's people may for a time seem as lost, but God will protect it, by convincing the conscience, or confounding the projects, of those that strive against it. The oppressors required souls to be subjected to them, that every man should believe and worship as they would have them. But all they could gain by violence was, that people were brought to outward hypocritical conformity, for consciences cannot be forced.There is none to guide her - The image here is taken from the condition of one who is under the influence of an intoxicating draught, and who needs some one to sustain and guide him. The idea is, than among all the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the time of the calamity, there was none who could restore to order the agitated and distracted affairs of the nation. All its wisdom was destroyed; its counsels perplexed; its power overcome.

All the sons whom she hath brought forth - All the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

18. Following up the image in Isa 51:17, intoxicated and confused by the cup of God's anger, she has none to guide her in her helpless state; she has not yet awakened out of the sleep caused by that draught. This cannot apply to the Babylonish captivity; for in it they had Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, as "guides," and soon awoke out of that sleep; but it applies to the Jews now, and will be still more applicable in their coming oppression by Antichrist. When thou wast drunk with this cup, and not able to go, neither thy princes, nor prophets, nor priests were able or willing to lead and support thee. There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth,.... Still alluding to drunken persons staggering in the streets, that can scarcely stand on their feet, and do not know their way, and yet have none to hold them up and guide them, not even of their friends and relations:

neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up; to hold her up from falling, of which there is danger by reeling to and fro, through the intoxicating liquor; and this, either for want of sons, these being dead, or through want of filial affection in them. This was true of Jerusalem, literally understood, at the time of her last destruction by the Romans, when she had no king, priest, nor prophet, to counsel and direct, defend and protect her; and will be the case of the church of God at the slaying of the witnesses, when their own friends will be shy of them, and refuse or neglect to do any kind offices, or show any respect unto them, signified by not suffering their dead bodies to be put into graves, Revelation 11:9.

There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - None to guide her. From the time that Johanan, the son of Kareah, and the other "captains of the forces," quitted Judaea and fled into Egypt, taking with them Jeremiah and Baruch (Jeremiah 43:5-7), there was no one left in the country with any authority or any ability to direct affairs. The city, no doubt, suffered by this state of things, becoming more ruined and more desolate than it would have been otherwise. Had Johanan and the Jews under him remained in the land, God had promised to "build them, and not pull them down;" to "plant them, and not pluck them up" (Jeremiah 42:10). Thus Jerusalem's extreme desolation was not wholly the result of the Babylonian conquest, but was partly due to the after-misconduct of the Jews left in the country. In the second half the promise commences again, but with more distinct reference to the oppression of the exiles and the sufferings of Jerusalem. Jehovah Himself begins to speak now, setting His seal upon what is longed and hoped for. "I am your comforter: who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal who will die, and of a son of man who is made a blade of grass; that thou shouldst forget Jehovah thy Creator, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth; that thou shouldst be afraid continually all the day of the fury of the tormentor, as he aims to destroy? and where is the fury of the tormentor left? He that is bowed down is quickly set loose, and does not die to the grave, and his bread does not fail him; as truly as I Jehovah am thy God, who frighteneth up the sea, so that its waves roar: Jehovah of hosts is His name." הוּא after אנכי אנכי is an emphatic repetition, and therefore a strengthening of the subject (αὐτὸς ἐγώ), as above, in Isaiah 51:10, in אתּ־היא. From this major, that Jehovah is the comforter of His church, and by means of a minor, that whoever has Him for a comforter has no need to fear, the conclusion is drawn that the church has no cause to fear. Consequently we cannot adopt Knobel's explanation, "How small thou art, that thou art afraid." The meaning is rather, "Is it really the case with thee (i.e., art thou then so small, so forsaken), that thou hast any need to fear" (fut. consec., according to Ges. 129, 1; cf., ki, Exodus 3:11; Judges 9:28)? The attributive sentence tâmūth (who will die) brings out the meaning involved in the epithet applied to man, viz., 'ĕnōsh (compare in the Persian myth Gayomard, from the old Persian gaya meretan, mortal life); חציר equals כּחציר (Psalm 37:2; Psalm 90:5; Psalm 103:15; compare above, Isaiah 40:6-8) is an equation instead of a comparison. In Isaiah 51:12 the address is thrown into a feminine form, in Isaiah 51:13 into a masculine one; Zion being the object in the former, and (what is the same thing) Israel in the latter: that thou forgettest thy Creator, who is also the almighty Maker of the universe, and soarest about in constant endless alarm at the wrath of the tormentor, whilst he is aiming to destroy (pichad, contremiscere, as in Proverbs 28:14; ka'ăsher as in Psalm 66:7; Numbers 27:14, lit., according as; kōnēn, viz., his arrows, or even his bow, as in Psalm 11:2; Psalm 7:13, cf., Isaiah 21:13). We must not translate this quasi disposuisset, which is opposed to the actual fact, although syntactically possible (Job 10:19; Zechariah 10:6). The question with which the fear is met, "And where is the fury of the tormentor?" looks into the future: "There is not a trace of him to be seen, he is utterly swept away." If hammētsı̄q signifies the Chaldean, Isaiah 51:14, in which the warning passes into a promise, just as in the first half the promise passed into a warning, is not to be understood as referring to oppression by their own countrymen, who were more heathenish than Israelitish in their disposition, as Knobel supposes; but tsō‛eh (from tsâ‛âh, to stoop or bend) is an individualizing description of the exiles, who were in captivity in Babylon, and some of them actually in prison (see Isaiah 42:7, Isaiah 42:22). Those who were lying there in fetters, and were therefore obliged to bend, hastened to be loosed, i.e., would speedily be set at liberty (the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus may be referred to here); they would not die and fall into the pit (constr. praegnans), nor would their bread fail; that is to say, if we regard the two clauses as the dissection of one thought (which is not necessary, however, though Hitzig supports it), "he will not die of starvation." The pledge of this is to be found in the all-sufficiency of Jehovah, who throws the sea into a state of trembling (even by a threatening word, geârâh; רגע is the construct of the participle, with the tone upon the last syllable, as in Leviticus 11:7; Psalm 94:9 : see Br's Psalter, p. 132, from râga‛, tremefacere), so that its waves roar (cf., Jeremiah 31:35, and the original passage in Job 26:12).
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